Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will forever be linked. Earlier in their careers, the two All-Stars headlined the Cleveland Cavaliers as one of the most explosive duos in NBA history.
James, closing in on the finale of his 30s, is still dominating the NBA in his 20th season. After the Nets’ win over the Lakers on January 30, Irving lauded LeBron for his longevity.
“We gave the keys to the entire business to an 18-year-old kid, and now he’s 38 years old, and he’s still dominating. I don’t think we should be surprised. I think we should congratulate and celebrate him as much as possible. Continue to enjoy the shows that he put on because it’s not going to be for too much longer,” Irving said.
“Whenever he decides to play [until], I’m enjoying the show. And I wish we could have gotten a chance to play against one another but who knows what can happen down the line?”
The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Kyrie Irving Gives High Praise to LeBron James
Irving and LeBron were a part of the historic Cavaliers team that came back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors, who were the defending NBA champions at the time. And for three seasons, Irving had a front-row seat to watch LeBron’s greatness.
Based on his 30.2 ppg season average, James is about four games away from becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. As he inches closer to dethroning fellow Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Irving praised his former teammate for his preparation which has contributed to his longevity.
“I definitely saw this when we were playing together,” Irving continued. “His ability to prepare himself mentally, spiritually, emotionally, game to game, day to day. I’ve been quoted as saying it’s hard to be LeBron James, or any superstar, or any entertainment, sport, athletic, or business industry because all eyes are on you. But he’s handled it extremely well.”
Kyrie Irving Gets Candid on Load Management
Though Irving had a lot to say about LeBron after the game, he didn’t get a chance to match up with his former Cavaliers teammate as he was inactive with a left ankle injury. James was one of four All-Stars who didn’t suit up for the matchup, along with Ben Simmons, Anthony Davis, and Kevin Durant, who has been out since January 8th with an MCL sprain.
However, James is scheduled to play when the Lakers play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 31 as part of their New York City road trip. Anthony Davis is probable to play. It brings into question the issue of load management and if too many games are on the NBA’s current schedule.
After the game, Kyrie, Vice President of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), gave more insight into the issue.
“I see it from both sides,” Irving said. “And I have to sit in the middle and just say we have things in the works right now that we talk about, but all in all, everybody’s body is different, everybody’s will to play is different and everybody’s desire to be out there is different. I just think those that are available to play will play and those that are not, you just got to respect their bodies and respect what they do.”
The Nets hope to be whole for their next game against the Boston Celtics on February 1.